The Box Which is Myth

by S. Jason Fraley
Inside the Writer's Studio
Honorable Mention, March 2007
Judged by Pascale Petit

For each brother, the box contains Agamemnon’s skull, a collection of precious stones, and Dad’s old Playboys, respectively. All their stories: how each made love for the first time while it was in the room, how it survived as their parent’s house burned. The slight indention where a thief’s head landed when clubbed with a trophy. Not a mildew stain. No, a glow.

* * *

They arrive at Dad’s birthday party. In the corner–the box covered with a decorative table cloth. Someone puts a red plastic cup on it. When the two oldest brothers go outside to bring in extra bags of ice, the youngest takes the box, sneaks into the laundry room. He slices it open with his pocket knife. An explosion of flannel shirts.

* * *

The box is meticulously taped. The lead detective stretches latex gloves over his hands, drops the knife into a plastic bag. Fingerprint dust floats. Handcuffed to chairs, the brothers share stories. One insists he stole the box from behind the museum when a Greek exhibit traveled through town. The other says that when it is time to retire, he will live as he has always dreamed.